Sci-Fi Channel's contest draws thousands of entries

Tying into the futuristic theme of the Sci-Fi Channel show "Eureka," whose main character lives in a thinking, talking home, the NBC Universal channel teamed up with the nonprofit Alliance to Save Energy (ASE) and Edison Electric Institute, an association of electric companies in the US, to create the "Eureka Smart House Energy Efficiency Challenge."

Tying into the futuristic theme of the Sci-Fi Channel show "Eureka," whose main character lives in a thinking, talking home, the NBC Universal channel teamed up with the nonprofit Alliance to Save Energy (ASE) and Edison Electric Institute, an association of electric companies in the US, to create the "Eureka Smart House Energy Efficiency Challenge." The winner of the challenge would receive a free "energy" makeover of his or her home.

Strategy
The contest coincided with the second season of "Eureka," whose audience is perceived as interested in the environment and technology. The sweepstakes, which tied into the channel's "Vision for Tomorrow" campaign, had entrants write essays outlining why they deserved to win, prompting all applicants to consider becoming more energy efficient.

Tactics
Media outreach included both national entertainment outlets and the winning family's local media market, plus ads on the Sci-Fi Channel. To generate even more public interest, the partners sought to have the winner's town declare October 30, 2007 "Energy Efficiency Day" and contest representatives visited local schools. "Part of the tactics was to make this a city-wide kind of thing," says ASE director of communications and marketing Rozanne Weissman.

Results

Nearly 9,000 people entered the contest and many more visited the sites. Media hits included Multi-Channel News, AP, ClearChannel stations, and local affiliates. Adam Stotsky, the Sci-Fi Channels' EVP of global brand strategy and market development, marks performance by the number of entries. "That so many people took the time ... to write an essay tells me we did something right," he says.

Future

The partners plan further programs to promote energy efficiency, and, for NBC Universal, other "Visions of Tomorrow," but don't have set plans.

PR Team: NBC Universal's Sci-Fi Channel (New York), Alliance to Save Energy (Washington), Edison Electric Institute (Washington)

Campaign: Eureka Smart House Energy Efficiency Challenge

Duration: June to October 2007

Budget: $160,000

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